Friendly Guidelines: Before asking anything, kindly check the UPDATES section which is at the bottom of the original post (please be guided that this was a post last year) and the COMMENTS section for some Q&As. Thanks!
Friendly Guidelines PART 2 (4.12.2013) : I know that this maybe the post that have the most traffic on it, but guys, please please please, back read the comments before asking me anything. I'm honestly getting tired answering the same questions over and over. I'm really sorry if this sounds too mean, but I don't get paid for this, okay? I need to sleep too. It annoys me that I can't reply to your queries but it is inconvenient for me too. So if I haven't answered your question, it only means you need to read the ENTIRE POST and the ENTIRE COMMENT section because the answer literally sits there. Just have patience and you won't even need to ask me anymore. Sorry guys in advance.
Okay so it may sound weird but I'm one of those people who does not own a credit card. I do own a handful of debit cards (all active anyway) and that's what I use for all cashless transactions. I also have Gcash for Multiply suppliers and anywhere it's accepted but there are just some times that a CC is what you need to make a valid transaction. But it is really disappointing that debit cards that I currently own just doesn't register with Paypal, hence, it's inconvenient for me to buy apps, book flights or even hotels online. So when I heard of the ePrepaid Credit Card of BPI I was eager to sign up.
I don't enjoy personal banking. Like as in physical. I do visit banks to transfer funds in different accounts but that is something that could not be helped*. So since most of my transactions are online, I also applied this via web.
You need to visit bpiexpressonline, find the Prepaid link and you will be directed to a form where you are required to fill important details for your record. Do not forget to tick the card that says ePrepaid which also gives you the option to choose what color your like for your card to be.
After everything is filled up, you only need to print the page that says Print this page (but I also print screened the notification message just for sure) printed it out ready. Don't forget this when you claim your card.
I applied on a Sunday, called them on a Monday and it was already there. I forgot to bring any IDs so I went the next day. Do prepare a photocopy of your valid ID in case the branch you're on doesn't have a photocopy machine. After presenting my card, I was told to pay a fee of 500 php (which I thought was initial load but wasn't) and that's it. I'm off to go.
CARD ONLINE ENROLLMENT
How easy it was to own one but it took me another day just to load the card. The reason why it is is because BPI has this online enrollment rule that whenever you attempt to apply your card to your online account, you have to present your application to them personally. Which in this case, I did the next day, only to learn that it will take atleast 2 weeks for it to be registered on my online account. Thinking that this is another hurdle, I tried mobile banking but that didn't work out either.
So the only option left for me was what I dreaded. Over the counter loading.
So while I wait for it to register on my online account to make my life easier to move funds, I went to the bank again just to load.
If you've ever been to BPI lately, they now have machines that replace deposit slips and physical queues that once your number is up the teller automatically knows what transaction they are to encounter.
It does look easy but it's a bit hard for ePrepaid cards because it's not an obvious option on the machines. What was taught to me was to choose third party merchant and use the card number as reference.
On the actual counter where I'm going to pay the teller, I was lucky that she was able to ask someone who knows how to deal with this loading business. She got it all right after the instruction given to her. She even confessed refusing to accept previous transactions before since they don't know what to do with it. I was just really lucky that I was the first they did accommodate. My load came the next day.
To check for balance, all you need is to text 2274 on the ff format: BALEC
While could always apply a real line credit card, there is con to owning a real one at all. Here are all the reasons why I chose this Prepaid option:
1. No Annual Fees
There are some stories of being able to dodge the payment of annual fees by threatening to cancel accounts, having good credit standing, befriending the agent and a dozen more options but still, the other fees attached to your cc, like not being able to pay on time, are still payments not be reckoned with. On this card, you only get to pay 500 for 2 years and that's it. You don't even need to worry about interest rates since you have already paid for the credit you are using.
2. Worrying about the usage
You won't exactly over use it right?
The reason why I packed myself with debit cards is because in the case of it being in the hands of a malicious being, there is no way for them to know what my pins are, making them useless. With this type of card, while I cannot withdraw the amount, I could simply load the card exactly of what I needed, that if they plan to use it without my permission, it will be of no use to them as well since it doesn't have a credit left.
4. No CC agent
Yay! I remembered how my mom used to be harassed by CC agents who are endlessly annoying. None of them on my card!
5. For as long as it's a Mastercard...
You can use it anywhere. I haven't tried it on a store but I will surely do when the need arises (I'd keep using debit cards unless not accepted) so for now I'll have to settle on online shopping and booking.
I haven't tried tying it up with Paypal but so far it has served me the 1st time (booking a hotel for tomorrow). I have yet to try it on purchasing apps (maybe when connection is better) and other stuff but I guess since this works like any Mastercard CC out there it certainly has to work. Will give you updates on this next time! (Just check updates below)
** UPDATE (4.1.12) **
I've been successful in adding this to Paypal Philippines and from there I was able to make a purchase from an international seller in Ebay and even pay for Android Apps. So much win!
** UPDATE (4.23.12) **
I'm successful in paying for this in Watson's and Teriyaki Boy although if they look at you funny just tell them to at least try.
For easier reload and less hassle, enroll your primary bank account (obviously has to be BPI) on your Globe handset then enroll this card as well (you have to enroll for it online and then wait for at least a week before you can actually reload this :-).) and whoala you can now reload your card anywhere you are! Best of all it won't take 24 hrs to reflect on your balance but just mere seconds :-D
Find the E-prepaid to paypal blog here
** UPDATE (6.24.12) **
Pancake House didn't honor it (phew, at least I have cash!). It does work though, which I tried multiple times at SM Department Stores & Watson's outlets
** UPDATE (03.08.12) **
Just received an email from BPI, it looks credit limit is increased:
Screenshot from BPI email
** UPDATE 8.5.2012 **
Here's the Paypal Update: http://www.misstinapie.blogspot.com/2012/08/problem-solved-bpi-e-prepaid-to-paypal.html
*Current Payroll of mine is in Megalink and all banks under that umbrella does not allow online transfer interbank inspite of being in that particular 'group' which is currently offered by Bancnet. They allow it's member banks (but not to any Megalink banks) in moving funds in several bank accounts for as long as they're on the group of banks (2 Bancnet, 3 Megalink personal accounts) takes extreme effort just to fund.